Have you ever sat staring at your screen in frustration because your new online marketing strategy failed? I must admit, I’ve wanted to throw my computer out the window a few times when things haven’t worked out the way I thought they would.

We marketers spend so many hours and resources on online marketing, and even more on understanding online marketing.

In the online world things change so quickly, and many of our efforts are wasted because we don’t know how to keep up with the rapid changes in online marketing.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t focus on online marketing, but rather combine our online marketing efforts with offline efforts – yes, I just said offline in 2016, can you believe it?

You might think of offline marketing as a dinosaur – but it’s not outdated at all.


We forget that there’s huge marketing and branding potential offline as well as online, and I will argue that the offline world of marketing is somewhat easier to keep up with and thus well worth the time we spend on it.

In this post I’ll, of course, be focusing on list building – more specifically offline list building.

I’ll give you a number of ways you can step up your offline marketing game. No one is excluded in this post. Even if you haven’t got a physical store or attend to events, there are plenty of tips to really get the hang of the offline marketing world and start collecting some of the most relevant leads you’ll ever get.

So it’s time to step away from your desktop (once you’ve read this, obviously) and start doing offline marketing like a pro. Let’s dive right in…

Too much content? We’ve boiled it down for you

We’ve created a simple manageable checklist including all the tips and tricks from this monsterpost. Get your hands on it today and optimize your offline list building efforts.

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Download your own checklist to successful offline list building.

Collect leads in-store

If you have a physical store, this is a great way to collect extremely relevant leads. In fact, every time someone leaves your store, it’s a missed opportunity to ask them for their emails.

I’ve spoken to the godfather of email marketing, Tink Taylor, and it actually annoys him whenever people don’t ask him for his email address whenever he is checking in at the hotel, buying a flight ticket, and so forth, because it is so crucial.


A great way to do this is by using tablets where customers can sign up for your newsletter. While they are having their presents wrapped or paying for their products at the cashier, it’s your time to shine. But don’t simply ask them: can I have your email, please?

Instead, you give your staff a few simple sentences they can try out. Here are a few:

  • Do you want 15% discount on your next purchase? All you have to do is sign up for our newsletter.
  • Do you want to enter the draw to win a gift card worth xxx? – Simply sign up for our newsletter using your email.
  • I don’t want you to miss out – right now you can save 10% on this purchase if you sign up for our newsletter. Are you interested?
  • Have you signed up for our newsletter? If you haven’t you’ll get a voucher worth xxx if you subscribe today.

So if you haven’t figured by now, you must always offer them an incentive – I’ve listed a few great ideas you can consider (they are up for grabs). You can offer them:

  • A discount on their next purchase
  • Vouchers. Maybe just this one time, maybe they’ll receive one once a month
  • Exclusive offers via your newsletter
  • Invitation to VIP events
  • Join a competition
  • 5 or 10% off this purchase

The key thing is that they’ll receive whatever goodie they get in return on their email – this means they are more likely to enter their exact email address and not just a made-up one to get the immediate discount.

Actually, 10-20% of all the email addresses people write down end up being illegible, so when you offer them something awesome, they’ll want to get their hands on it.

It’s fairly simple to set up the opt-in form, but it must look great and be inviting, so spend some time on this one. You can do it with Mailchimp or your preferred email platform, so they’ll enter their email directly into the system.

A beautiful opt-in can be a lot of things – but it must always be true to your brand and easy to use. The key thing is time: They came into your store with a goal, and when your staff member approaches them, it mustn’t seem like a delay, so make it super quick for them to subscribe.


This one from Kalon works:

  • Because it’s simple, great-looking and it is incredibly fast to sign up. It’s possible to do in the queue or during the customer’s browsing in your store.

The ‘but’:

  • A CTA that says ‘sign up’ is never a great idea. However, you must keep in mind that they will be assisted by a member of staff who’ll guide them through.


This one from Floyd works:

  • Because it is simple, and the CTA is great.
  • On top of that, the message in the opt-in support the message the staff personnel is promoting, which improves your credibility. The staff has just told the customer, that they’ll get a discount if they sign up and hey ho, the opt-in tells them the exact same thing.

The ‘but’:

  • It’s not really necessary with two input fields to enter both first and last name – surely, they can just write it in one input field. Always remember what factors might delay the signup process.

Once you have their emails I’ll recommend you to use an automated email flow and send them personalized emails. That means if they have signed up in a store in Copenhagen, they’ll receive an email saying “Thanks for signing up during your last visit in our store at [your address] in Copenhagen!”

That is a fantastic way to build up a personal relation and send them targeted and super relevant content.

Train your staff

However, a well-designed opt-in form and a fabulous incentive are worth nothing, if your staff personnel isn’t promoting the option. In my opinion, 50% of this project’s success relies on the way you train your staff.

They must understand why it is beneficial to them, the store, and their sales. The Norwegian omnichannel universe VITA trains their personnel in store to really go all in on collecting emails. Here’s what they do:

  • Share your findings with them – how much has the email list grown during the last month?
  • Tell them why and how it benefits the company
  • Create competitions in the store – and between the stores, if you have more than one. The store that collects the most emails within two months wins a party
  • Give them the opportunity to communicate directly to their customers through personal newsletters to the customers that have converted in their store (about VIP events, sales etc.)
  • At VITA, the stores get a percentage of whatever amount the customers they have recruited to the club spends in the online store – the money incentive is always a great incentive

Discovery why Campaign Monitor and 900+ businesses are using Sleeknote to turn more visitors into customers (the reason might surprise you). Learn more


This is really a win-win situation for you. By conducting surveys in store, you’ll not only get a lot of useful data about your visitor’s experience, but you’ll get their email as well.

Once the customer is about to leave your store, they’ll meet a nice staff member asking them if they have a moment to answer five questions about their visit.

The staff member should make it clear from the get-go that if they answer the survey, they’ll get 10% off their next purchase (or whatever incentive you decide to offer)

First of all, the person conducting the survey must emphasize how much it means to us that they have agreed to answer – thank them… a lot! Then quickly move on to the survey, as the customer was about to leave.

I’ve included an example of what a survey could look like:

  • Did you find everything you needed today?
  • Was the store easy to navigate in? (Rate 1-5)
  • Was the staff on the floor helpful? (Rate 1-5)
  • Did the person at the cashier make you aware of any other offers?
  • Are you likely to return to this store?

It is a good idea to include ‘yes’ or ‘no’ options because of the time factor, but ratings will give you the most exact results and data. End off with them entering their email address so that they can receive the gift voucher in return for their collaboration.

REMEMBER: Include a checkbox after their email, where they can opt-in for receiving your newsletter. I would have the box checked as default, and then train the member of staff to inform the visitor, what they’ll get the newsletter and how often it is sent out.
Otherwise, the member of staff can fill it out manually with the visitor, which will make it harder for them to say no (if you have trained your staff well enough).

The power of paper

This tip all comes down to your imagination. If you have an ecommerce store or if your business ships off physical parcels to customers or partners, why not take advantage of that and promote your newsletter?

It is a great opportunity to convert already loyal customers to leads. You have to be able to track if they signed up for your newsletter during checkout or if they are already subscribers. If they aren’t, include a little something in their parcel, where you give them the option to sign up for your newsletter.

That can be done in a number of different ways, and you know your customers better than I do, so you know what makes them happy and what makes them tick.

I’ll recommend sending them a simple piece of paper or postcard where you offer them to enter a draw to win a gift card worth quite a significant amount. All they have to do is to sign up for your newsletter via a simple link. (It MUST be a simple link, as it has to be easy to enter in their browser – remember they receive it on a piece of paper)

Give them the impression that they are very likely to win. Tell them that it’s only this month’s customers that get the chance to win. You should be willing to pay a lot for these emails, as these are incredibly valuable leads.

If you aren’t feeling like Father Christmas, you can also give them some of the following:

  • Goodies
  • Vouchers
  • Discount codes
  • 10 great offers during the next month
  • Discount on their next purchase

It’s also effective to include a small polite message thanking them for their purchase, where you tell them how much it means to you that they are customers in your store. To make it even more personal, the postcard or paper with your newsletter promotion could include a photo of you or your team.

The team here at Sleeknote did something similar: at our last workation, we had a photographer come to take a couple of group photos. Whenever we get a new major customer, we send them a photo of us looking really excited via social media.


Get them at events

If you go to events to promote your product or service, you can easily combine that with gathering plenty of emails.

Bring your iPad with your beautifully designed opt-in form and get as many people as possible to enter their email. Yet again, you have to tell them what they get out of signing up.

Since you’re at an event, you can tailor your incentive to the day. Maybe you can offer them to get notified next time you are at an event? Maybe you have a stand promoting one particular product or product range? Send them news about that one product. Give them the sense that they get something special because they met you at this event or conference.

Or you can just go old-school and give them amazing offers. Everyone loves an offer.


A great example of someone making the most of events is Shark Gaming. They have actually said, that their most important marketing channel is their brand, and a massive part of that is attending to events and conferences.

Shark Gaming is a Danish company selling custom made computers for gaming. They have built up an amazing setup around their stand at events. The stand has different sections where visitors can get to know their brand and what they stand for all while having fun.

Christian Due, the sales and marketing manager at Shark Gaming, says that they always have some sort of campaign or competition in order to collect email signups. They can easily collect 500 signups in one day, which is incredibly valuable.

Here are Christian Due’s tips for collecting leads at events:

  • Bring an iPad and collect emails through that.
  • Make signing up fun! Give out golden tickets, where they have to sign in using their email, to find out if they’ve won – use your imagination
  • Be personal and friendly. Receiving your newsletter is going to be a much more personal experience, if they know who you are and if you had a good connection at the stand
  • Set a goal for the day. Are you going to collect leads or brand yourself? Be clear, otherwise, you are just wasting time
  • Bring samples of your products – the signups will be more relevant if they have seen some of your products and decided that they like them

Pro tip: Bring several tablets – people hate lines.


Now: Flip that situation upside-down. Host an event yourself. A couple of years ago, Livingshop had a whole day where everything was 10% off in store. They invited suppliers to come and cook and handed out lovely goodie bags.

Right in the middle of the store, there was a massive table where visitors had the chance to win 5000 DKK – which is quite a nice prize. There was a big bowl in the middle and papers lying all around it, where people had to write down their name, email and answer three questions right.


The fact that it felt like participating in a quiz made the competition seem more genuine, and people got the sense that they were actually likely to win. Besides that, they notified everyone that the winner would be found that same day – and everyone was reminded as they left the store: “Have you remembered to join the competition?”

Just to sum up, here’s what they did and what you can do too:

  • Have a special event day in the store
  • 10 % off everything
  • Goodie bags and snacks
  • Suppliers attending too
  • A competition with a magnificent prize
  • To enter the competition: enter name, email and answer three questions right
  • Notify everyone, that the winner is found the same day
  • Remind every leaving customer of the competition
  • Mingle with the customers – personal relations last longer than memories of a website

That one day resulted in 1322 leads, and the emails are more valuable and relevant than anything else. The people who signed up where in store, interested in the brand and interested in winning a great amount to spend in the store.

Text to join

This tip is pretty simple but can really help you collect quite a bit of extra leads when you are doing offline marketing.

Let me introduce you to Join by Text – a simple service at a low price, that enables people to sign up to your newsletter by sending a text.

Here’s how it works: You are given a simple, 5-digit number and you are to define a simple one-word keyword. The keyword can be: ‘signup’ or ‘givemeoffers’ or ‘discountnow’ – whatever you fancy!


People then simply need to send the keyword to your 5-digit number and they’ll receive a response message (which you have designed beforehand) telling them to enter their email address – and of course you have included some of the amazing reasons to sign up in the response message.

What’s great about this system is that it integrates with your email marketing platform, so the emails will all end up safely on your email list.

It’s nifty to use Join by Text (or any similar service) as you can use your keyword on your business card, on the postcard you send out with your parcels, at events or anywhere really.

Public speaking

If you are a public speaker, you can use your time in the spotlight to collect email leads as well, just like David Newman does.

The leads you get from these types of events are relevant, as the people who listened to you speaking are likely to think you have something valuable to say – so why shouldn’t your newsletter be as well? Remember; you are speaking as an expert in your field, so they will probably listen to you if you recommend them to sign up too.

If you use Join by Text you can give up your keyword or you can give them a simple link to enter into their browser and sign up through there.

Here’s how you can go about it:

  • Offer them to receive your talking points in an email
  • If you mention a certain template or guide, give them the option to download that by entering their email address
  • Don’t hold back any value from them, but offer them something extra – like your latest ebook or the spreadsheet you use to manage your budget
  • Include your text to join or a simple link on all of your slides, so they absolutely can’t miss it

Offer them an incentive that is different from any other incentive you usually give.


It is a great idea to have a targeted drip flow setup for everyone who downloads your content at these events. That way you will be able to target them in a much better way and they are more likely to convert.

I’ve roughly sketched up what your flow could contain:

  • A ‘thank you’ email – thank them for downloading your piece of content
  • ‘It was great seeing you’ – tell them you are thankful that they came to see you (at xxx event date xxx) and give them some more content relating to your latest speech
  • ‘I’m going again’ – inform them you are going to speak at another event and include some of the things you are going to speak about
  • ‘Since we met..’ – send them another piece of valuable content or tip that relates to the topic you did your speech on

In all of these emails you should make them aware of your ordinary newsletter – maybe include a few highlights from your latest newsletter to let them know what amazing content you have in your newsletter.

Convert abandoning visitors into subscribers and customers? Yes, it’s possible. Here’s how Livingshop (Ecommerce) collected 35,000 email subscribers. Learn more

Create a customer club

This last one is probably the most demanding one, but I have included it anyway, as it is one of the most effective ways to connect your offline universe with your online marketing.

Customer clubs are on the rise and more and more major companies (offline as well as online) launch customer loyalty programs. That means you might as well get started too – and do not worry; your customer club will not disappear in the masses.


According to Inc., Companies spend more than $2 billion on loyalty programs a year, and statistics show the average American household belongs to about 14 different rewards programs, even if they’re only active in six.

The customer clubs are a potential pot of gold, as loyal customers are happy customers and happy customers are paying customers – customers who will purchase from you.

Sportmaster is truly the master of loyalty programs, as they have a customer club with more than 750.000 members – and they use that club to promote targeted offers to the members.


At Sportmaster, the members of the club get a wide range of benefits from joining and they receive special offers through personalized newsletters.

I agree that Sportmaster’s customer club is incredibly sophisticated, but a good customer club can also just mean getting special offers and collecting points with each purchase.

A great tip from the Due-Rasmussen brothers from Sportmaster is that they divide their turnover into areas, not stores, meaning the in-store staff gets an even greater incentive to promote the newsletter and promote sales and offers in their particular store.

The international coffee chain Starbucks also has a loyalty program, where customers can collect points and earn rewards such as free syrups or free upgrades to a bigger cup of coffee.

It doesn’t have to be advanced, but in order for customers to start collecting points, they have to activate their customer card using their email – and by doing that, signing up for the newsletter as well.


This is a fantastic example of offline marketing because it comes down to the staff in store to make aware of this membership program and ask the customer for emails.

Here are some ideas as to what your customer club could include:

  • Earn points and get rewards
  • Receive a little present every month or whenever the customer reaches a milestone (when they have spent x amount of money)
  • Get tailored offers
  • Get 10 % off in store
  • An extra 10 % off sale items

All they have to do to unlock all of your amazing rewards is to sign up with their email.

Too much content? We’ve boiled it down for you

We’ve created a simple manageable checklist including all the tips and tricks from this monsterpost. Get your hands on it today and optimize your offline list building efforts.

Free Downloadable Bonus
Download your own checklist to successful offline list building.

Wrap up

I have officially drained my brain for all of the best offline marketing tips and tricks I could think of. As you have probably figured by now, offline marketing can be a lot of things – and basically, it all comes down to great incentives and well-trained staff who knows how to spark the customer’s interest and make them sign up for your newsletter.

In my opinion, offline marketing is one of the best ways to collect relevant leads, as the people who are likely to subscribe to your newsletter are people who have already been in your store and shown and interest in your brand.

If that wasn’t enough, offline marketing is also a fantastic opportunity to combine your offline and online stores and create a true omnichannel universe – that can be through customer clubs, detailed segmentation, and targeted content. You name it!

Did I miss anything? Do not hesitate to give me a shout in the comment section below. Sharing is caring – and this blog is looking for a little love. Cheers!

Julie Fjeldgaard
Julie is the communications manager at Sleeknote. She spends the majority of her time on writing content and doing PR. When she’s not obsessing over words and sentences, she loves watching documentaries, listening to podcasts and daydreaming about amazing holidays.

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